Silicone Algae will Help to Save Corals in the Mediterranean Sea

14.06.2017

Italian scientists placed artificial algae next to coral reefs in the Mediterranean Sea. The goal of this project is to help the corals survive the acidification of the ocean caused by the climate warming.

Silicone Algae will Help to Save Corals in the Mediterranean Sea

Samples simulate coralline algae species Ellisolandia elongata and are made of silicone elastomer. This material is very flexible, and it is non-toxic: for example, probes for transfusion are made from it. In total, 90 artificial reefs were installed in the sea in the north-west of Italy. Studies have shown that colonies of bacteria and microalgae have already appeared on the surface of synthetic algae.

In nature, coral algae are the habitat for many marine lives, for example, crustaceans, mollusks and sea worms. In addition, in the shells of algae calcium carbonate is concentrated, and thus they participate in the construction of the reef. However, due to the increased acidity of water, such structures are extremely vulnerable - unlike artificial ones.